In recent years, both a national and global movement has emerged to improve how academic staff are recognized and valued. In this article, Theo Jetten from the Wageningen ‘Recognition and Rewards’ committee reflects on the role of WUR Library in the current recognition and rewards process and its transition.
‘Recognition and Rewards’ approach at Wageningen University
On 9 December 2021, approximately 150 WUR staff joined the Finding Answers Together (FAT)-session on Recognition and Rewards. In this session the results of an extensive survey were presented on how academic staff perceive the current system and their ideas about changes needed. The FAT session and the survey are two activities organized by the Committee on Recognition and Rewards at our university. This committee was installed in 2020 to review the current state of ‘Recognition and Rewards’ of academics at Wageningen University and to develop new policies to improve it. This process is in line with the national strategy paper published by the VSNU/KNAW/NWO Room for everyone’s talent. This movement responds to a growing need within the scientific community to change how work is recognized and rewarded with respect to research, education, contribution to team performance, Open Science, leadership and scientific and societal impact.
The role of the Library
WUR Library plays a role in the current recognition and rewards process especially related to supporting quality assessments in research. The Research Information System is used to document evidence for research assessments of both individuals (research output, media mentions, activities) as well as groups within the context of the Strategy Evaluation Protocol. WUR Library provides a bibliometric benchmark of publications, visualizes publication networks and explores policy and media mentions. Furthermore, bibliometric experts perform specific network analyses on request. The information on publications is used to organize publication output for Tenure Track files.
WUR Library also plays a leading role in the Open Science and Education Taskforce. Recognition and Rewards of Open Science activities is a major instrument to further enable progress of Open Science. This includes different elements such as Open Access to research and education results, stakeholder engagement and data management.
How research quality is currently evaluated, is not in line with the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) signed by the Dutch Universities. Furthermore, the evidence is considered one-sided. The revised Strategy Evaluation Protocol (SEP) already places more emphasis on assessing societal relevance of research. However, the WU SEP evaluations show that a more elaborated assessment framework is needed. WUR Library will continue to support these developments and continues to contribute to the discussion on how to visualize elements of quality of research outputs and activities.
Until now, the committee has emphasized “Inventory and Analysis” of the main issues. In the coming months, the committee will focus on “Design and Testing” to develop a prototype for an adapted academic career assessment framework. This model will then be tested in pilots with different science groups.
You can find detailed information about the approach at the WU Recognition & Rewards intranet page. Or join the intranet group Recognition & Rewards, where you can find all the relevant policy documents and the results of the employee survey.